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So i have been reading a lot about block chain technology and its use cases in the finance and cryptocurrecncy markets. One thing that guarantees blockchain's success in the cryptocurrency market is the prevalent financial incentive for the miners to validate blocks of transactions to make it part of the public ledger (they are rewarded with bitcoins). This financial incentive is associated with a financial asset block chain and partly explains the ongoing boom in the price of Bitcoin. However, as an economics and technology enthusiast, i am curious to learn more about the inherent incentive structure that would prevail if the block chain is for a non-financial asset (let's say it stores patient's data- a use case for blockchain in the healthcare market)? How can we incentivize miners to validate and solve pending blocks in cases where a blockchain stores a non-financial asset and therefore giving a financial incentive seems impossible?

I would appreciate any resources(articles, books etc) that you guys can share below in the comments. I look forward to doing more research. Thanks!

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It's far from obvious that any such system would be usable or secure. But in many places "blockchain" has become a alternative way of saying "cryptography", "digital signatures", or "distributed system" -- all of which might be useful.

Storing patient data "in a blockchain" is one of the more horrifying concepts that I've encountered. I've never seen a good reason for it and in fact there seems to be a perfect mismatch in the technology: What Bitcoin invented was a way of building a public system of a sort that was previously trivial to build privately. There are many issues with medical records, making them less private is not generally considered one of them. :)

To me a lot of the blockchain hype feels like "Bitcoin appears to solve a complex problem. Peace in the middle east is a complex problem, thus the technology from Bitcoin can solve it!".

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You probably should rethink the mining process. In bitcoin, a miner gets rewarded, because he is competing among other miners, and mining is expensive.

You could design the mining process drastically different. You could use a consensus system that does not depend on solving hard math, but that requires some secret (signed certificate) or other private asset, then provide theses "miners" to the system for free.

How to create trust in this system is a whole other question.

In the end, bitcoin is just one way to have a distributed trust system that allows for having publicly acknowledged transactions, nothing more.

  • Yeah that's what i thought as well; to have some sort of digital certificate or pvt asset available to the miners. Does that mean that we will have more of such digital assets as blockchain develops new use cases in other markets? And does that mean these digital assets would not be an overly-hyped bubble (what many ppl accuse Bitcoin of) but instead an integral part of the overall blockchain technology? I completely agree with the fact that it will be difficult to have the trust system going on for such newly created assets. Bitcoin didn't have such wide acceptance at one point. – Muhammad Hamza Hanif Dec 31 '17 at 20:14

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